Are You Making Yourself Sick to Change Your Life?


A couple years ago, I was really sick. Not anything serious or life-threatening, but my body was out of whack. I had a sinking feeling that I was spending too much time on something I loved -- my business Hint Jewelry and particularly hand-pressing hundreds of metal clay charms.

Maybe this post will come across as a little cynical to the whole handmade movement, which by the way I've always been a bit tickled over, but the reality is that without extra help, making things by hand can take a physical and psychological toll on your body.

The number one thing I did to remedy the illness in my life and find more balance was to stop making my charms by hand and hire a casting company to do the labor for me. By spending less of my time on making charms, I learned to take care of my body and nurtured a soul that was yearning to sit in the sun, ride my bike, cook delicious food, and knit something frivolous. I couldn't do any of these nourishing things, if I was overworking my body.

Always find creative time and space for yourself or your body will find it for you. This was the thing I learned from being trapped on my handmade assembly line. If I wasn't going to take time to relax and play, my body was going to get sick and make me rest but without all the fun.

When you're physically sick, extremely exhausted, or pulled in a million different directions, the last thing you want to do is take on another responsibility like joining a class of self-discovery. However, stepping back from the chaos, going within, checking out of your daily routine, looking at your life from a place of neutral observation so as to see what healthy changes can be made is probably the best first step to getting back into balance.

Claiming time and space to heal your creativity might actually be the hardest thing you've ever done. You might feel you're neglecting family or work if you decide to go on a mental retreat for a couple hours a week. However, by making a choice to devote precious time solely to yourself each week you are beginning the process of moving yourself towards greater wholeness and peace, which ultimately benefits everyone connected to you.

If life is feeling out of control and you're wondering what happened to your creativity or the feeling of enjoying the things you love, then I invite you to take the leap and join our supportive online retreat Mending Creative Time & Space that starts on July 16th and runs for six weeks. To learn more and sign up, click here.

When you heal your creative time and space, you nourish not only yourself but everyone around you.


  1. I need to do this, I've toyed with the idea of having some of my most popular bits cast but there is that whole "handmade" thing. But I do know a few who do it and somehow they are still considered handmade. Thanks so much for the information!

  2. You know, the fear of that scenario is exactly what keeps me at my day job. Imagining all that would be involved--juggling dozens of different responsibilities and probably working 14-hour days--in trying to support myself with my jewelry alone is overwhelming, let alone the constant anxiety about whether or not I could pay the bills. I've never been able to get myself to seriously consider being a full time artist, because I strongly suspect it would wreck me in a few short years (or less). I think other people have the skills and temperament to make that work but I think it would land me in the hospital. Sure I'd like more time to dream stuff up, but I suspect if I had to make stuff for money I'd have even less time for that. I like that I can set it aside from time to time to rest and have a life, and not worry about keeping a roof over my head.

  3. Last fall I faced the same issue, but not with the creative endeavors, it came from a physical collapse from the stress of my 'day job' in the dental field. The art that has emerged is the gift of the time during healing, which has been frustratingly slow, but improves with rest and gentle activity. I am lucky as my art can maintain a stress free environment as my husband has been totally supportive in both it and in keeping a roof over our heads. If my art ever became as popular as needing to 'hire out' the casting, I would do the same thing. I am in the beginning stages of over abundant creativity and low pressure which I did not realize was even more precious as things grow. So thank you for your post, which has reminded me that this early stage is precious too!

  4. Tracy, that's so awesome that art has been a part of your healing process! I totally dig what you've said here about embracing that precious stage in the beginning when you're really connected to the work and process. May you continue along your creative path!!


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